Why won’t my hydrangeas bloom?

Hydrangeas, next to peonies, are my favorite flower in the garden. When we first bought our lakehouse in 2014, it was in the dead of winter, and a very cold, snowy winter at that. When warm weather rolled around, I was delighted to see an abundance of both peonies and hydrangeas burst forth with blooms. So delighted in fact, that I cut bouquet after bouquet to enjoy them inside.

One of our hydrangea plants the first summer at our lakehouse

Not having a particularly green thumb, I don’t know if this is what caused them to produce fewer and fewer blooms each year. The peonies seemed to bounce back this year, but only one of our four hydrangea plants produced any blooms – and it was a meager two blooms at that.

These are the only blooms our hydrangea plants produced this year

I’ve asked around and done some reading, and have come to the conclusion that I should be pruning hydrangeas. I’ve read differing theories on when to prune though. I read one article here that says I should prune back the dead wood in July and no later. So, that’s what I just did this morning. Then I came across another article that says you should cut back the dead wood in early spring and no later. If that’s what I should have done, I’m probably screwed. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed that next year I’ll be rewarded with at least a few of those lush, gorgeous blooms we’ve had in previous years.

I captured these beauties a few years ago during a boat trip to Holland. I have lost faith that I’ll ever have hydrangeas that look like this, but one can always dream!